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VOLUME 8 ISSUE 2 Feb. 23 – March 22, 2018

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Local arts, entertainment and community events Page 19



Democracy in action

The good neighbor


Helix incident highlights need for new policies

Jeff Clemetson Editor

Concerned citizens have their say at city town hall meetings. Page 2

B FEATURE Overcoming obstacles

Local actress with autism takes the stage. Page 3

B FOOD & DRINK Cultural flashback

Chopsticks Inn offers American-tailored Chinese food the way it used to be. Page 10

Richard Zay is the kind of neighbor who makes residents of other neighborhoods jealous that they don’t live in closer proximity to him. The 62-year-old Zay has always lived a life of service — in the Air Force reserves for 28 years, as a firefighter for 35 years and currently as a road supervisor for MTS’ First Transit. “We deal with handicapped people, wheelchair accessibility, people that don’t have the means to get places, we help them,” Zay said of his current occupation of six years. But what really sets Zay apart from other good neighbors, is what he has done for other people while he is off the clock — like the Herculean task he recently finished for his neighbors living across the street from him. For over 25 years, dirt and debris had piled up in a drainage ditch running behind the housing track on the west side of Lake Murray Boulevard, between El Paso and Bob streets. The problem was so bad, there were homeless camps in the area behind people’s homes. “People actually lived in the ditch for months and people didn’t know it,” he said. Then one day, Zay said he witnessed transients bothering


See NEIGHBOR page 12

B ART Featured artist

Jeff Clemetson Editor

Richard Zay with his certificate of commendation stands in the ditch he cleared for his neighbors. (Photo by Jeff Clemetson)

End of the line for Depot Springs Dustin Lothspeich

Foothills Art Association presents the work of illustrator Gary Harden. Page 13


Opinion Politics Classifieds Puzzles Education

6 7 14 15 16

After three years of delays and community concerns, Depot Springs Beer Co. — the ambitious La Mesa experiment that was to house a brewery/ distillery, restaurant and live-music venue — is officially dead in its tracks. Development of the 7,400-square-foot East County building (located on the north end of a Fletcher Parkway strip mall containing a Souplantation restaurant and a Michaels arts See DEPOT SPRINGS page 18

B CONTACT US Editorial / Letters (619) 961-1969 Advertising (619) 961-1958 San Diego Community News Network


Depot Springs was only partially built before construction stopped over the summer of 2017. (Photo by Jeff Clemetson)

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On Jan. 19, a La Mesa police officer was filmed “body slamming” to the ground, a black female Helix High School student, who was already handcuffed. The incident set off a series of student protests, which included a march through the city on Jan. 22 and a special student-run town hall meeting at Helix held on Jan. 29. Students and other community members outraged by the incident also came out and dominated the discussion at two other already scheduled annual town hall meetings put on by the city, on Jan. 30 and Feb. 6. In addition to frustration over the incident itself, the students and other community members questioned the city’s response. At one of the town halls, a Helix student asked why the city wasn’t following a process that requires investigations when dealing with police issues. “There is no standard process because we’ve never experienced this before,” replied Mayor Mark Arapostathis. No city wants to believe that its officers would use excessive force or act unethically; however, with excessive force by law enforcement officials — especially committed against people of color — making headlines across the nation on a regular basis, small cities like La Mesa need to proactively address the problem before trust breaks down between police and the communities they serve. That mistrust has already been growing, according to Helix student Melat Ezana, who said she would just like to be treated safely, fairly and with civility by the police. “Already as a black female, like most people in the black

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NEWS 2 La Mesa Courier  |  Feb. 23 – March 22, 2018 Residents voice concerns at city town hall meetings Jeff Clemetson Editor

“This is what democracy looks like!” was an often-reiterated theme of the many citizens who came out to this year’s annual La Mesa town hall meetings. The town hall meetings — the first on Jan. 30 at La Mesa Arts Academy and another on Feb. 6 at Northmont Elementary — were dominated by students, activists and residents demanding answers and action over a Jan. 19 incident at Helix Charter High School, where a La Mesa police officer was filmed slamming a handcuffed student to the ground following a disciplinary suspension from school.

Explaining that state laws restrict them from speaking about the incident itself, City Council, city staff and Police Chief Walt Vasquez instead fielded questions on the investigation into the incident, as well as police procedures, hiring practices and training. Many of the speakers demanded the department suspend or fire the officer involved in the incident and several students got into heated exchanges with council members. For more on the Helix incident and the city’s response, see our page 1 news analysis, “Helix incident highlights need for new policies.”


In addition to those who came to speak about the

student-police altercation at Helix, the town halls also brought other La Mesa residents who voiced concerns over a myriad of issues, some dealing with city infrastructure. A man named Joe asked about the scope of the University Avenue median project, which has been cut in half, he said. “The part that is done looks great, but it’s now a contrast to the part that isn’t done,” he said, adding that not a single general fund dollar has gone into the project. “When it comes to the Village, those projects get completed and those use general fund dollars. We could use some down here.” City Manager Yvonne Garrett said the completed medians were paid for with

(l to r) City Manager Yvonne Garrett, Mayor Mark Arapostathis, Vice Mayor Kristine Alessio, Councilmember Bill Baber, Councilmember Guy McWhirter and Councilmember Colin Parent

A near capacity turnout for the Northmont Elementary town hall on Feb. 6 (Photos by Jeff Clemetson)

a grant from the Water Resources Control Board, and that revitalizing the University Avenue corridor is still a goal of the city. Garrett said there is currently a project underway to improve bike lanes and sidewalks along University. “We feel that as we make those improvements to the sidewalk and bicycle lanes, we’re going to improve the rest of it,” Mayor Mark Arapostathis added. Assistant City Manager Greg Humora said repaving should be done by the end of the year. Resident Kathleen Brand raised the issue of crosswalks and the need for infrastructure in a rapidly growing La Mesa.



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She pointed to the Quarry residential development, which city staff allowed a reduction in parking due to its proximity to the trolley station. “But if somebody who lives there wants to walk to the grocery story, to Sprouts, they would have to walk out into Palm Avenue because there is not a contiguous sidewalk,” she said. “And if a family lived there and they wanted to say, ‘Oh my God, we live across the street from a park, let’s teach the kids to cross the street in a crosswalk.’ Well, there are no crosswalks until you get to Fresno Avenue. There’s no crosswalk at Echo Drive, none at Spring Street. There’s not one at the street that goes into the park.” Brand suggested the city add more crosswalks along La Mesa Boulevard before the recently-approved Little Flower Haven project is built, because the limited parking at that development will have people parking around the neighborhood and walking to get there.

Traffic and parking

Several residents raised issues involving traffic and parking in their neighborhoods. A resident who lives on Pomona Avenue said that after he complained about speeding last year, for a while things were better when there were stepped-up patrols, a trailer with a speed indicator, and officers ticketing drivers near Stanford and Pomona avenues. “On the flip side, I have to say, it’s gotten worse,” he said, adding that apps like Waze, Uber and Lyft have increased traffic along neighborhood streets. “Our street is getting so bad that I would venture to bet that traffic is busier on Pomona than it is on Harbinson.” City Councilmember Bill Baber added that an improving economy also puts more cars on the road. A man named Edward brought up the long pauses the trolleys take near Severin Drive and how that causes unnecessary waiting at the light. City Councilmember Guy McWhirter explained that the pauses are guided by federal government regulations due to the trolley tracks’ proximity to sidewalks. See TOWN HALLS page 15  



La Mesa Courier  |  Feb. 23 – March 22, 2018

Pushing through life’s obstacles


Autism doesn’t stop this La Mesa woman from taking the stage David Dixon Heather Rose Atkinson has overcome a great deal of adversity throughout her life. The 24-year-old La Mesa resident is on the autism spectrum and, to this day, suffers epileptic seizures. The youngest of eight siblings, Heather is the only child in her family with a major disability. “I was sometimes getting misjudged by others as a kid,” she said. Fortunately, she continues to live a good life through hard work and the help of caring men and women. A positive and supporting influence for her is the social services organization, Toward Maximum Independence (TMI), which assists people with developmental disabilities. They aid Heather by supplying her with Tailored Day Services — a program through California’s Department of Development Services (DDS) that “provide opportunities for increased integration and inclusion, as well as further opportunities for the consumer to develop or maintain employment/volunteer activities, and pursue postsecondary education,” according to a fact sheet on the DDS website. Someone who shares a lot of history with Heather is the TMI division manager, Cathena Ferrero. Originally, TMI helped Heather with career exploration and career development. “Atkinson wanted to find work and she hopes to start her own business,” Ferrero said. “She’s really into flowers, and through career exploration, interviewed owners of floral shops.” In addition to being involved with TMI, Atkinson continues to perform in musicals presented by Arms Wide Open (AWO). Productions put on by the organization feature cast members who have various types of disabilities. Atkinson had heard about AWO through a close friend. “When my friend suggested that I join the program, I wasn’t in a good place with my disability,” she said. “I felt like I had a better handling of my disability in 2013, and I have loved AWO ever since.”

Atkinson (top right) with fellow cast members of “Willy Wonka Jr.” (Courtesy Olga Gun Photography)

Heather Rose Atkinson will perform as Mrs. Bucket in Arms Wide Open’s production of “Willy Wonka Jr.” (Photo by Ginger Cohen)

Her fifth show with AWO is an interpretation of “Willy Wonka Jr.,” based on Roald Dahl’s book, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” and the classic family movie, “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.” Atkinson is cast as Charlie’s adoring and encouraging mom, Mrs. Bucket. Atkinson’s mother will be doing the hair and makeup for the uplifting event, which will be playing next month at the Lyceum Theatre. The director of “Willy Wonka Jr.,” Chris Rubio, is the founder of AWO and empathizes with Heather and the rest of the ensemble. He was inspired to work with people with special needs, partially because his brother has low-functioning autism. Following the run of “Willy Wonka Jr.,” Atkinson plans on taking a break from performing to focus on classes at AWO and other opportunities. This summer, she’ll be working at the San Diego County Fair with a Willy Wonka wedding-themed setup. Wonka is a perfect choice for the setup, because the theme for the summer, “How sweet it is,” focuses on candy. According to Ferrero, a major reason why Atkinson continues to do so well is because of her family. “I think she has a lot of support from them,” she said. Sadly, her epilepsy does keep her from seeing too many members of her family at once. “Part of her disability is that a lot of people and a lot of noise can cause a seizure,” Ferrero said. “Her family completely understands that she can only spend a certain amount of time doing group activities before going to her room. They accept that, because that’s part of who she is as a person.”

A positive aspect of Atkinson’s personality, one that she shares with her family, is a passion for creativity. “They have done a great job of encouraging her that she can do anything that she puts her mind to in general,” Ferrero said. Ferrero is very proud of how far Atkinson has come. “Our programs at TMI are designed for our clients to live full and active lives in their community,” she said. “I think that Heather is a perfect example of that goal.” With so many accomplishments, Atkinson seems destined to continue growing significantly as a person. “I’ve come a long way,” she said. “Willy Wonka Jr.” will be performed at the Lyceum Theatre March 2 through March 11. For tickets or more information, visit or call1-619-579-6197. Dave Dixon is a freelance theater and film writer. Reach him at daviddixon0202@gmail. com.■

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La Mesa Courier



Feb. 23 – March 22, 2018

Children’s center celebrates multiculturalism

Margie M. Palmer

Some of the colorful displays with food and art from the different countries that students at Charley Brown Children’s Center are from (Photos courtesy CBCC)

This year, it’s estimated that between 200 and 250 CBCC students, parents and family members participated in the Friday night event, which aimed to promote a greater awareness and appreciation for the different cultures represented at the center. “We started the multicultural night last year after a parent brought the idea to us and our administrative supervisor, Stephanie Marroquin, went A student enjoys a snack during multicultural night with it,” Cortese at Charley Brown Children’s Center. said. “We wanted

to include the different ethnicities we have in the school and show different cultures, and counties throughout the world.” Marroquin said she felt it was important to enhance students’ appreciation of other cultures because the school is a melting pot. “We have 112 students between the ages of 6 weeks and 5 years enrolled at CBCC and we get students from all over,” she said. “We have some that don’t speak English. We have some that are from China, Japan, Iraq, Iran and we have a couple that are from Africa. We have a lot of different cultures here and we want to make sure the kids are inclusive and that they realize that differences are beautiful. We felt it’s good to start to teach them about accepting


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differences while they are young because we hope it will have a great impact on them when they are older.” In preparation for the event, a letter was sent to parents asking parents to prepare a hot or cold dish representing their family’s heritage. In the classroom, teachers formulated lesson plans that focused on a country of their choosing, and the students created art projects and display boards that featured what they learned. Marroquin said the art was then sold, and that the money that was raised was donated to Nothing But Nets, a nonprofit organization which delivers bed nets to children who live in malaria-stricken areas. The money raised as part of this year’s multicultural night will allow the organization to purchase 22 nets. “We are a very close-knit center and we have so many amazing staff members and parents, it blows my mind,” Marroquin said. “Last year, our first year, we received way more than we anticipated in terms of food and parent involvement. We had two parents who bonded up and rolled lumpia together for a

couple of hours and we hope the more that we do it, and the more we get the word out, that more parents will want to be involved.” Marroquin said the feedback from the families who participated in this year’s multicultural night was extremely positive. “People were really impressed with the food and with a lot of kids being picky, it was great to see them try different foods from around the world,” she said. “We had lentils from Africa and we had one parent who said he hadn’t seen a certain type of seasoning since he was deployed in Iraq. It was a great way for parents to meet up and talk, for kids to try food and to broaden the horizons of the children.” For more information on the CBCC, including its programs, curriculum and enrollment requirements, visit or call 619-463-5126. —Margie M. Palmer is a San Diego-based freelance writer who has been racking up bylines in a myriad of publications for over a decade. Reach her at margip@alumni.■

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The second annual multicultural night at the Charley Brown Children’s Center (CBCC), took place on Friday, Jan. 26, said CBCC Director Liz Cortese, and for the second year in a row, it was an overwhelming success. For those who are unfamiliar with CBCC, the center, located at 5921 Jackson Drive in La Mesa was built in 1972 as part of a community outreach program of The Table: United Church of Christ in La Mesa. Its mission is to provide affordable, quality child care for infants, toddlers and preschoolers to community members.


La Mesa Courier

UT editor to discuss #MeToo-era ethics Carol Perkins Laura Cicalo knows a lot about the world of journalism. The Grossmont High School graduate began her journalism career in 1983 at The Daily Californian in El Cajon. She then started working at the San Diego Tribune in August 1987, and she rose through the editorial ranks from assistant news editor to her appointment as managing editor of the Union-Tribune in 2015. The La Mesa-El Cajon branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) will host Cicalo at its March general meeting, where she will address issues that face our society — and the world of journalism specifically — in the aftermath of the sexual harassment allegations that have surfaced over the past year. Her presentation, titled “Media Ethics in the #MeToo Era,” will be held March 10 at 10 a.m. in the Grossmont Health Care Center Auditorium, 9001 Wakarusa Ave. in La Mesa. Cicalo answered a few questions that might frame a better understanding of this topic. Here are her responses:

Q: Why now? Why did a movement not take hold in the aftermath of Anita Hill's televised testimony in the 1991 Senate Confirmation

Hearings for Clarence Thomas's appointment to the Supreme Court? She accused him of sexual harassment/misconduct in the workplace more than 25 years ago.

I think it was really a confluence of factors. While Anita Hill’s testimony certainly started a conversation, it was a conversation that — for the most part — ended up turning back on her. She was vilified in some quarters and doubted in many others. People questioned her motives and her mental health. In many ways, I think she served as a warning to other women of what can happen when you come forward and speak up. That said, she gave voice to the experiences of countless women who may not have had a name for what had happened to them or what they observed in the workplace. While it is still difficult for victims of sexual harassment to come forward, I think they are more likely to be believed in 2018 than they were in 1991. It’s a different era with far more options available to tell one’s story. The past several months have shown the cumulative effect of people speaking out – inspiring and emboldening others to join the chorus of those calling out harassers. While to many it may seem that this movement came out of nowhere, it really was decades in the making.

Q: Does print journalism have a unique role to play in this era of immediate electronic news delivery? I believe that journalism has a unique role to play, regardless of the platform or method of delivery. Thorough, fair and accurate reporting is critical to understanding the important issues of the day, be it sexual harassment, immigration or the federal budget. —Carol Ortman Perkins is chair of the La Mesa-El Cajon branch of the American Association of University Women’s Women in History committee.■

Feb. 23 – March 22, 2018

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San Diego Union-Tribune managing editor Laura Cicalo (Courtesy AAUW)

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It’s a challenging time, for a variety of reasons, but the principles of truth-telling, fairness, accountability and transparency apply to harassment stories just as they do to other types of stories. We wrestle with the same questions that we face in other complicated and consequential stories: How do we treat anonymous sources? How do we corroborate information from sources? How do we report stories in which subjects are unwilling to talk? How do we make sure all sides are presented fairly? Ethical principles provide both a foundation and a roadmap for approaching our work.


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La Mesa Courier


Feb. 23 – March 22, 2018

OPINION Letters Immigration needs limits

Re: “Why we should all welcome immigrants and refugees” [Volume 8, Issue 1 or]

123 Camino de la Reina. Suite 202 East San Diego, CA 92108 (619) 519-7775 Twitter: @LaMesaCourier EDITOR Jeff Clemetson (619) 961-1969 CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Morgan M. Hurley, x110 Sara Butler, x118 COPY EDITOR Dustin Lothspeich WEB & SOCIAL MEDIA Sara Butler, x118 CONTRIBUTORS Yahairah Aristy Connie Baer Lynn Baer Jeff Benesch Dave Dixon Tyler Eva Dianne Jacob Dustin Lothspeich Judy McCarty Linda Michaels Jennifer Osborn Alex Owens Margie M. Palmer Carol Perkins Heather Pisani-Kristl Frank Sabatini Jr. Daniel Sullivan Julie White

SALES & MARKETING DIRECTOR Mike Rosensteel (619) 961-1958 ADVERTISING CONSULTANTS Heather Fine, x107 Sloan Gomez, x104 Brenda Vergara, x114 ACCOUNTING Priscilla Umel-Martinez (619) 961-1962 EDITORIAL INTERN Cassidy Klein INTERNS Erik Guerrero PUBLISHER EMERITUS Jim Madaffer PUBLISHER David Mannis (619) 961-1951

OPINIONS/LETTERS: La Mesa Courier encourages letters to the editor and guest editorials. Please email submissions to jeff@ and include your phone number and address for verification. We reserve the right to edit letters for brevity and accuracy. Letters and guest editorials do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher or staff. SUBMISSIONS/NEWS TIPS: Send press releases, tips, photos or story ideas to For breaking news and investigative story ideas contact the editor by phone or email. DISTRIBUTION: La Mesa Courier is distributed free the fourth Friday of every month. COPYRIGHT 2018. All rights reserved.

Guest Editorial

Solar tariffs: An uninformed policy Trump gets played by Chinese and Arab investors, sacrifices American jobs Daniel Sullivan Last week, a proposal that sat on President Trump’s desk for over two months, which the renewable energy industry had been watching anxiously, was finally signed. His signature places into effect a 30 percent tariff on imported solar panels, and while it was expected, the reasoning behind it and implications going forward beckon further understanding. What the president was likely briefed on is that the tariff would encourage competition with foreign markets, incentivize American solar manufacturing and create more jobs at home. This is not only a critical piece of Donald J. Trump’s “America First” platform, but a common sentiment felt among many Americans who have experienced manufacturing jobs moving overseas and foreign products dominating the consumer market. It may be said that this tariff will help grow the American solar industry, but in truth, signing it into effect is a grossly political, if not uninformed, move. The original proponents of the tariff are two solar manufacturers with United States operations, not American companies: SolarWorld and Suniva. SolarWorld is a Qatariowned company, while Suniva is majority Chinese-owned. In 2017, both companies filed for bankruptcy, claiming that foreign competition — not their own ill-advised business practices — was the culprit. They banded together to propose a tariff on imported solar panels, which they claimed would level the playing field and create more favorable conditions for American solar manufacturing. The irony, however, is that the tariff is actually supporting foreign-owned solar companies, who happen to have plants in the United States. It was a selfish move to manipulate the political climate in hopes of nursing the wounds of

lost market share, instead of making quality improvements to operate in a profitable and sustainable manner. The second glaring issue with this tariff is it lacks a critical component that is necessary to achieve its alleged aim. Solar manufacturing in the United States is not subsidized like oil, natural gas and coal. Government subsidies helped grow and solidify these American energy giants in an extremely competitive world market. Tariffs alone would not have had that same impact in developing the Exxons and Shells of this nation. If Trump truly wanted to increase American manufacturing, there are various ways he could have done that. In 2009, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was enacted to preserve and create jobs and promote economic recovery. It gave grants to manufacture goods in the United States. At the time, Kyocera Solar was manufacturing solar panels in Mexico just south of the border from San Diego, and they moved their manufacturing plant to Kearny Mesa as a result of this grant. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was a sincere effort to help American manufacturing, where this tariff is a play in a political game. This tariff also appeases Trump’s fossil fuel-friendly cabinet and donors. With Energy Secretary Rick Perry, who maintains that the “science is out” on climate change, and former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State, there is no doubt that this is a fossil fuel-friendly administration. What this tariff is ultimately aimed to do from a political perspective, is curb renewable energy growth and reaffirm the fossil fuel industry as the possessor of American energy, swiftly awarding new opportunities and permissions to expand extraction and trade while restricting the growth of solar.

The most blatant inconsistency is the conflict between this tariff and Trump’s America First jobs plan. The American solar industry employs more than coal and oil combined, and two-thirds of these solar jobs are outside of manufacturing. Many are employed in the installation of solar power systems, and in certain cases this supports well-paid, union labor. There is additional employment in sales, marketing, accounting, engineering as well as with local supply chains like providers of racking, inverters, batteries, roofing, software and other products used in a solar power system. These are prevailing wage, healthy jobs, that often encourage education, vocational training and community engagement. Jobs in solar have been experiencing growth in traditionally low-income, high-unemployment areas like Oakland, California, filling in the gaps where local fossil-fuel jobs have left employees unhealthy and unfulfilled. While the move feels more like an aftershock rather than an earthquake itself, effects will be felt in solar employment from surges in pricing and subsequent lower demand. Some local solar design and installation companies who anticipated the tariff secured a stockpile of tariff-free modules and are offering those to prospective clients while supplies last. The bottom line is that solar will persevere. While the tariff will have its effects, it will not stunt the solar industry’s inevitable growth. Southern Californians are still subjected to some of the highest costs of electricity in the nation, thanks to investor-owned San Diego Gas & Electric and its parent company, Sempra. Despite tariffs, solar remains a more affordable option than sticking with the utility and has a bright future. —Daniel Sullivan is founder and president of Sullivan Solar Power.■

The act of vandalism at the Ascension Lutheran Church was hateful and a violation of two of the fundamental rights that are so important to the effective functioning of our democracy. I refer to the right to own property and the right of free speech. Further, whether or not one believes in the Bible, it is difficult to disagree with the exhortation to care about the plight of others who are in need. What Pastor Fry does not mention is whether he believes this nation, or any other for that matter, has the right to control its borders. The title of the editorial “Why we should all welcome immigrants and refugees” does not make a distinction between legal and illegal immigrants and thus implies he favors open borders. Those of us fortunate enough to have been born in American, should be grateful for that blessing. However, while being born here is the luck of the draw, the level of freedom and prosperity we enjoy is no accident. Those who founded our country installed a system of government capable of policing itself to prevent the abuses found in so many other countries. They adopted an economic system (capitalism) that, together with the rule of law and property rights, encourages productivity by allowing individuals to be rewarded for talent and hard work. These features of America culture, among others, have helped produce a high standard of living. Many cultures do not share these values, and are therefore much less pleasant places to live. Thus, there are millions of people now living in other countries who would like to live here. I have read that worldwide there may be 600 million or more in that category. Pastor Fry’s impassioned plea to welcome refugees and immigrants, while tugging at our heartstrings, ignores the difficult question of controlling our borders and setting reasonable immigration quotas that will not destroy the American way of life that we now enjoy. Does everyone in the world have a right to live in the United States? Most would probably answer no. But if not everyone, how many immigrants should we allow to enter? We are frequently reminded that ours is a “nation of immigrants.” See LETTERS page 8



La Mesa Courier

Strategist to share political insights

Insights into the current Washington, D.C. scene, including the tax cuts, returning prosperity, and the usual chaos, will be provided by top political and communications strategist Jason Roe at our Tuesday, March 13, meeting at The Brigantine in La Mesa. Roe is nationally recognized for his work in campaigns and government, advising candidates for president, Congress, governor and state and local



Books and bucks: Nothing brings a community together quite like a new library. In recent years, the county has opened new libraries in Alpine, Ramona and other areas — each with the strong support of their local Friends of the Library group, along with community leaders. We’re seeing the same spirit now as the county prepares to break ground on a bigger, better library for Lakeside. Rise City Church recently donated $50,000 to the project, joining a growing list of donors. The money will help purchase materials and other resources for the taxpayer-funded building.

programs, visit us at and check us out on Facebook. —Judy McCarty is publicity chair of the Navajo Canyon Republican Women Federated. Reach her at jhmccarty@cox. net.■

Among those recently presented with a county proclamation is Sally Westbrook, who served as president of the Ramona Chamber of Commerce in 2017 and has helped her community by volunteering with the Ramona Senior Center and other groups. Also honored were Fabrice and Alison Borel, operators of Fabrison’s restaurant in Jamul. The eatery offers country French cooking and has brought something special to the East County dining scene.

Every Saturday morning, members of the La Mesa community wake up and exercise with their fellow walkers at the Grossmont Center mall. Sponsored by Sharp Hospital, the Grossmont Mall Walkers program was created to encourage the local community to engage in daily exercise and socialize with other walkers. The program was started 32 years ago by a cardiologist who wanted to create a program that would promote local activism and exercise. For the members, walking provides physical benefits such as reduced stress, lowered blood pressure, and increased strength. Fellow walker Donna Smith appreciates the program as it inspired her to maintain a healthy lifestyle after retirement. “I was retiring and I wanted to make sure that I didn’t get into that routine of sitting and watching television all the time and I’ve always been rather active but I wanted to make

Rev. Suzette Wehunt Join Us Each Sunday and During the Week Group Meditation 9:15 AM • Celebration Service 10 AM Inspirational Talks, Live Music & Loving Community Wherever you are on your Spiritual Path You Are Welcome March Theme

You Are Rooted In The Divine

Live Sunday Broadcast on the Internet NEW WEBSITE -

7951 University Ave . La Mesa 91942 LIC# 348810

—Dianne Jacob is San Diego County Supervisor for District 2. For more District 2 news, go to or follow her on Facebook and Twitter. For assistance with a county issue, call her office at 619-531-5522 or email dianne.■

Mall Walkers program recognized Tyler Eva


Jason Roe (Courtesy

News and notes from your County Supervisor Libraries are as important as ever. They are not just places to learn, but in many smaller towns, they are also the heartbeat of the community. Keeping seniors safe: With the number of San Diegans with Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia on the rise, it’s critical we do all we can to keep them safe. Three out of five people with dementia will wander or get lost at some point during the disease, according to national estimates. If you haven’t already, I encourage you to sign up any loved ones with dementia for the Take Me Home program, run by the Sheriff’s Department. It can help deputies find seniors if they get lost. For more information, go to Success stories: So many great folks are doing wonderful things across our community.

Feb. 23 – March 22, 2018


sure and make some connections because it’s like a new chapter in your life,” Smith said. For many, the social component of the program is what has created a tight-knit comMall Walkers exercise in the Grossmont Center food munity that has court. (Courtesy Sen. Anderson's office) been together for years. Community members over the years have program that’s been dedicated started exercising daily after to promoting fitness and living joining the weekly program and healthy lives. The people at even started socializing outside the Grossmont Mall Walkers of the program. program are great examples of State Senator Joel Anderson local leaders and I am grateful acknowledges the work of for their 32 years of supportthe Grossmont Mall Walkers ing the community,” Anderson program. In honor of their said. community engagement, Members of the La Mesa and Anderson provided Senate San Diego communities are certificates of recognition to welcome to join the program Sharp Hospital, the Grossmont at the Grossmont Center food Center, instructor Daphne court every Saturday at 8 or 9 Miller, and the board members a.m. — no pre-registration or of the Grossmont Mall Walkers fees required. program. “February is American —Tyler Eva is a legislative Heart Month, and it’s an honintern for the office of Sen. Joel or to celebrate a long-lasting Anderson.■ 2016

Judy McCarty

office, as well as corporations and political parties. As the principal of Roe Strategic, he has been recognized as the top political consultant in San Diego and is the recipient of many peer awards. Check-in begins at 10:30 a.m. for the 11 a.m. meeting. Luncheon is served at noon, followed by our speaker. Cost of the luncheon is $25 and reservations are required. RSVP at (please use luncheon in subject line) or call 619-990-2791. On Valentine’s Day, we’ll be doing our traditional treat for wounded and recuperating veterans. We like to express our gratitude. Our new board is busy planning lots of interesting speakers and festivities for this coming year. For more information on our plans and




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La Mesa Courier


Feb. 23 – March 22, 2018


‘Blue Economy’ discussed at next Dem meeting

Yahairah Aristy and Jeff Benesch At the February meeting of the La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club (LMFDC), we learned about the many details of the competing ballot measures on the future of the stadium site in Mission Valley. While many of us live in close proximity to either Mission Valley or SDSU, virtually all county residents are affected by what happens to the large plot of land many of us still refer to as the “Q.” And we’re following up that wonderful teaching moment with another on Wednesday, March 7, at 7 p.m. — one that we’ll refer to as a “State of the Port” with new Port Chairperson Rafael Castellanos. And like the stadium forum, this one will also feature a key ballot measure, yet another referendum on the expansion of the Convention Center. And while there are many countywide areas of interest, few are more impactful than the Unified Port District and its hundreds of tenants and near-shore neighbors with powerful influence on our daily lives. Do you use the airport? Attend games and events

Port of San Diego Chair Rafael Castellanos (Courtesy LMFDC)

at Petco Park? Comic-Con? Conventions at the Convention Center? Go to dinner or shop in Seaport Village or Liberty Station? Ex-Navy or Marines in the family that trained at MCRD or NTC? How about cruise ships, the Midway, the Embarcadero, Summer Pops, Spanish Landing, Coronado Tidelands or South Bay coastal parks? Affected by the thousands of tons of non-container cargo that comes into our 10th Avenue Marine Terminal every month? Cars, bananas or pineapples anyone? You get the idea. Everyone is greatly affected by our stewardship of the Port of San Diego and the economic and tourism engine that it drives. And what exquisite timing for Chairperson Castellanos

to appear: A bond measure is headed to the November ballot about Convention Center expansion; the port is still leading the way towards a countywide climate action plan (with electric loading vehicles being used on the docks); the airport is continuing its expansion (with international terminal renovation and parking structure completion this year); homelessness and the hep A outbreak are centered on Port District lands; and public access to bayfront lands, parks and views are a frequent battle between developers and environmental groups. In addition to being the Chairman of the Board of Port Commissioners of the Unified Port of San Diego, Castellanos is also chair of the Port's

Environmental Advisory Committee. Chairman Castellanos' theme for 2018 is "Ocean Optimism," which is the belief that the ocean economy, also known as the Blue Economy, is one of the San Diego region's greatest sources of opportunity. The region is known for its innovation, but much of its success has been directed eastward, away from the ocean. The 21st century is also about looking west, at the swelling importance of the Blue Economy's aquaculture, blue technology, and alternative energy industries. If we’re successful, then just like the Santa Clara Valley came to be known as the Silicon Valley, perhaps one day the San Diego Bay will come to be known as the “Blue Technology Bay.” LMFDC draws members from San Carlos, Allied Gardens, Del Cerro, La Mesa, the College Area, Santee, Mt. Helix, Casa de Oro, and other nearby communities. Meetings are held the first Wednesday of every month at the La Mesa Community Center, 4975 Memorial Drive, starting at 6:30 p.m. For more information, visit lamesafoothillsdemocraticclub. com and like us on Facebook. —Yahairah Aristy is president and Jeff Benesch is vice president of programming of the La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club. Reach them at■

u Letters, from page 6 However, immigration is different now than it was in past centuries. In earlier years, this country of ours was a largely unsettled country that could easily accommodate and provide opportunity for many. Those who immigrated were not motivated by welfare benefits because there were none. Today, we are the third most populous country in the world and many of us do not want to become as crowded as China and India and others. Today, we have a generous welfare system that is a lure for many and which must be paid for by our taxpayers. America is wealthy, but also over $20 trillion in debt. Taken in reasonable numbers, immigrants can be assimilated into our culture and become producers of the wealth and standard of living we enjoy. Taken in numbers too large, immigrants may try to change our governing system and move it in the less productive directions they are accustomed to in their home countries. Taken in numbers too large, immigrants unduly burden our taxpayers with the costs of a generous welfare system that includes schools, housing, health care, and many other anti-poverty programs. Taken in numbers too large, immigrants hold down wage growth for the unskilled poor among us. I am certainly not arguing for no immigration. I am arguing for limits — and limits are meaningless without enforcement. So, I wish Pastor Fry would make specific suggestions about what the legal immigration system should look like: How many immigrants with what characteristics we should take in and what measures should be taken to enforce whatever quota is set. Or, if he favors open borders, Pastor Fry should be forthright about saying so and explain how that would work. Immigration is a complex and emotional subject. We need dialogue that both calls on our better natures and recognizes the practical realities of immigration. —Russell Buckley, La Mesa.■

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ON THE EDGE OF EXTINCTION Frank Sabatini Jr. I craved the Szechuan spiciness of kung pao chicken and the fruitiness of Mandarinstyle glaze cloaking shrimp or scallops — but with the option of sizzling beef or chop suey in case of a sudden change of mind. And the cheaper the better, provided made-to-order plates and full wait service were part of the equation. Panda Express wasn’t going to cut it this time. Decades ago, finding such American-tailored Chinese dishes was as easy as scoring a burger. But the sit-down places that serve them have sadly dwindled, with many relegated to the memories of past generations that shook up their routine diets with what was considered exotic food. Chopsticks Inn is one of the area’s holdouts, although not as antiquated as the 87-yearold Chop Suey|Peking House in San Diego, for example, but a fun step back in time nonetheless. It’s family-run and has been around since 1988. Founded by Chinese immigrant Annie Chui, her lengthy menu also encompasses a handful of Thai and Japanese dishes in an effort to stay competitive. They include pad Thai noodles, red curry chicken, bento boxes and a few teriyaki choices. Visiting as a twosome during lunch, when a host of combination plates sell for as little as $8.55, we stuck exclusively to the Chinese offerings.

An appetizer of six pot stickers filled densely with pork sated our hankering for the classic dumplings, which I prefer drizzled in hot chili oil. These were naked and came only with soy sauce on the side. But they boasted a hand-made quality and pleasing, cushy texture. In another starter, we were smitten over the viscous sauce clinging to a half dozen Mandarin hot wings, which were some of the tiniest I’ve seen. They were delectably sweet and spicy, and I suspected star anise was in the recipe. When I asked our animated waiter if that was the case, he responded with a mischievous laugh, “Ancient Chinese secret, but a good guess.” He also tried steering me away from choosing breast meat in the kung pao chicken I ordered in lieu of the default thigh meat, insisting with a quirky, instructional tone that “breast meat isn’t suitable for the dish.” The same applies to sesame chicken, he said. I completely understood his point, but in an effort to keep the dish lean I went against his advice and paid the extra $1.50 for what amounted to more peanuts than poultry. The dark-brown sauce, however, was thick and addicting, though not as spicy as I would have preferred. I’m guessing it’s made with a base of hoisin sauce and pureed red chilies, the latter of which traditionally appear in whole form at other Chinese

(l to r) Pork-filled pot stickers; Mandarin hot wings; mango shrimp delight (Photos by Frank Sabatini Jr.)

Vichyssoise Commonly called cold potato soup, this recipe is delicious, a little sophisticated, and an easy dish to make! Serves 10 people.


6 tablespoons butter

● 6 large russet baking potatoes peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes ● 8 leeks, washed well to remove any dirt and cut into thin slices (white part of the leek only) ● 9-10 cups of good organic chicken broth ● 2 cups heavy cream ● Salt and pepper to taste ● 4 tablespoons thinly sliced chives for serving Directions:

In a heavy Dutch oven or deep pan, melt the butter. Add the leeks and soften them, but do not brown. Add the broth and the potatoes and cook for 20 minutes. Cool slightly and with an emersion blender, puree the soup until silky. You can also

Chopsticks Inn 8687 La Mesa Blvd. (La Mesa) 619-466-4470 Prices: Appetizers and soups, $2.55 to $10.95; dim sum, $4.25 to $4.95; noodle and rice dishes, $8.25 to $11.25; entrees and specialties, $11.95 to $15.95; lunch combos, $8.55 to $9.95 restaurants. But these we couldn’t see. As a lunch combo, the kung pao came with decent white rice, a vegetarian egg roll that was crispy and excellent, and a chicken dumpling fried to a tough finish. My companion considered ordering a dim sum platter, but was lured instead by the mango shrimp delight, which worked to my delight as well since what I stole from his plate fulfilled my hankering for Mandarin-style seafood. Ordered also as a lunch combo, the medium-size shrimp were firm, fresh and bright tasting from a sweet and tangy sauce accented by wok-fried carrots, celery and snow peas. Water chestnuts were in abundance, adding further oomph to the favorable, crispy profile of the dish. Chopsticks Inn feels frozen in time with its burgundy push-pin booths, kitschy décor and big, round tables geared for multiple dim sum courses. They’re among the elements I practically demand of Chinese restaurants serving as symbols of a bygone era, when families passed around platters of orange chicken and bowls of white rice while fumbling with their chopsticks. Those times actually still exist in rare establishments such as this. —Frank Sabatini Jr. is the author of “Secret San Diego” (ECW Press), and began his local writing career more than two decades ago as a staffer for the former San Diego Tribune. You can reach him at■


put small batches of the cooked soup in a blender to puree. Add the cream and and salt and pepper to your taste. Cool in the fridge. Pour into chilled bowls, add a splash of cream and the chives. Beautiful and delicious. “May the best day of your past be the worst day of your future.” —Irish saying.■

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there and he took them again. So instead of picking up two or four, some girls who were on their they ended up picking way to school, so he inspected up eight at one house, the area behind the homes and because I double-filled found sleeping bags and a char- them as they came down coal barbecue. the street,” he said, add“And that started this whole ing that EDCO is probthing,” he said. ably glad that he has The “whole thing” was comcompleted the project. pletely cleaning the drainage Zay said he filled an Dorothy Nelson reads the message in Zay’s certificate of commendation before giving it to ditch — a job he did almost enaverage of 15, and up him. (Photos by Jeff Clemetson) tirely by himself for four hours to 24, disposal bins a a day every day before going week. The bins were to his MTS job over a span of needed to carry out the dirt “I drafted up a letter, trying nearly seven months. and debris that was piled 3 to 4 to explain a lot of the back“You can’t get a backhoe feet high, up to 5 feet wide and ground and how great Richard back here; you can’t use autostretched over 400 feet long. was,” Nelson said. “I took it matic tools,” he said. “It’s pick “It started as to help the to La Mesa [City Hall] and axe and shovel; it’s getting neighbors, then it became an walked through the door and trash cans up here and hauling obsession. You get into a rousaid, ‘I have no idea who to give trash cans down; getting ahold tine,” he said. this to, but I think this deof the neighbors and getting Dorothy Nelson, one of the serves some recognition.’” their trash cans all before residents who lives along the Nelson was told by the city Wednesday, disposal day. now-cleared drainage ditch, has clerk that recognizing Zay “A lot of times the trash man known Zay to be a reliably good would be “a nice positive” for La would come and before the next neighbor for a long time, which is Mesa, and within a few weeks, one came, I came back, refilled why she felt compelled to see him Nelson received a certificate of them up and put them back out recognized for his good deeds. commendation to give to Zay. The certificate reads: “On behalf of the city of La Mesa, we would like to express our sincere gratitude for your generous service in assisting your neighbors with various projects, including the drainage ditch that runs from El Paso to Bob. Your actions and community spirit make La Mesa a better place and set an example of the ways we can help neighbors.” For Zay, helping people in need is not something to do for recognition or compensation, (left) Dirt and debris still fills th north end of the ditch. This view looking north but rather simple appreciation. shows what the south end looked like before being cleaned; (right) The cleaned “You start helping people ditch looking south and there’s a need for it; you kind of forget the overall picture of money value and you think about the idea of people appreciating it,” he said. “And for some reason, there’s a bigger value on that, especially when the need is there and people are afraid to ask. People are afraid to let other people know when they need help.”

u Neighbor, from page 1

—Reach Jeff Clemetson at■

Peter Pan Junior Theater cast members rehearse for the upcoming production of ‘The Music Man.’ (Photo by Alex Owens)

Peter Pan sings praises of ‘The Music Man’ Alex Owens The 90-or-so cast members in the Peter Pan Junior Theater’s upcoming production of “The Music Man,” not only had to learn their dialogue, choreography and song lyrics, they had to spend time learning archaic terms like “traveling salesmen.” “The kids who are acting need context,” Dr. Mark Arapostathis, the musical’s director, explained. “If they’re just reciting lines and don’t know the meaning, it’s as if they’re reciting the lines of a foreign language. “So when we’re singing the song ‘Wells Fargo Wagon,’ we told them about the Sears-Roebuck catalog and we equated that to going on Amazon and the Wells Fargo wagon is like UPS.” “The Music Man,” which is about con man Harold Hill who sells a small town on a boy’s band despite “not knowing a lick of music,” will run March 21–24 at the Joan B. Kroc Salvation Army Theater. This marks the fourth time PPJT has done the Tony Award-winning musical

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in its 48-year history, but some members of this year’s cast went deeper than Arapostathis expected. “We were talking about characterization and one group of girls created a family tree of all the characters and their backstories, and explained why Harold Hill was the way he was,” Arapostathis said proudly. “It’s all fictitious, and they even drew a map of the town and who Harold Hill’s grandparents were and what let him to become a cheat and swindler. “The accuracy of the dates and how someone could be related to someone else held up. I haven’t seen kids do that before.” Additionally, Arapostathis was able to use the current popularity of the musical “Hamilton” to help the students master some of the lyrics of songs from “The Music Man” that are also rhythmic in nature. “I explained Lin-Manuel Miranda’s rationale for using hip-hop because in order to tell this much story in a song, every story had to be on the beat,” he said. Songs like “Trouble” use a square dance-type of cadence which Arapostathis explains “was the hip-hop of the time.” “The Music Man” takes place in 1912, which just happens to be the year that La Mesa was founded. Arapostathis admits using that fact to help his actors get a feel for the town of River City, Iowa. “I point out to them that if they look at the downtown of La Mesa, some of the features still resemble how River City is described in the script,” he said. “I do think there are parallels between the two cities, and I think if the musical’s composer, Meredith Wilson, had seen La Mesa, he would have thought so as well.” Performances for the show begin at 7 p.m. for the evening shows, 1 p.m. for Saturday’s matinee. In addition, Thursday night is “Alumni Night,” where former PPJT cast members are encouraged to attend. For more information, visit —Alex Owens is a local, La Mesa-based freelance writer.■

13 Featured artist: Gary Harden


La Mesa Courier

Mindfulness meditation in books Heather Pisani-Kristl We’ve all heard about the benefits of mindfulness meditation, but how many of us have sat down and committed to it? For many years, I was convinced I didn’t need to meditate – I only honked my horn 50 percent of the times I was cut off on the freeway, and thought five minutes of lying down at the end of yoga class was probably enough relaxation time in my busy life. However, having begun a (fairly rudimentary) mindfulness meditation practice, I now glimpse what I was missing. It’s not just about the ability to still myself when faced by endless distractions. Being able to see my emotions and responses form, then looking at them dispassionately, has served me well at work and at home. Mindfulness meditation was popularized in the West by Thich Nhat Hanh, a Zen Buddhist teacher, and his student Jon Kabat-Zinn, professor emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. With increased public interest in mindfulness, the San Diego County Library has collected a variety of books, audiobooks and DVDs on the topic, many recently published. You’ll find that several of the selections below are e-books: downloadable books that can be read on a smartphone, tablet, or computer using the free Libby app, available at, in Apple’s App Store, or on Google Play. “Mindfulness for Beginners: Reclaiming the Present Moment – and Your Life” (book with CD; audio e-book) is one of many books on mindfulness written by Jon Kabat-Zinn. When he established the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the


Feb. 23 – March 22, 2018

Linda Michaels

University of Massachusetts Medical School, Kabat-Zinn brought mindfulness meditation to a secular audience in the service of improving health outcomes. This introductory volume includes five guided meditations by the author. Longtime meditation teacher Rick Heller wrote “Secular Meditation: 32 Practices for Cultivating Inner Peace, Compassion, and Joy: A Guide from the Humanist Community at Harvard” to appeal to audiences who are not seeking a religious influence in meditation. Enhancing relationships with others, experiencing physical and psychological benefits, and improving resiliency are all benefits of a secular meditation practice. This book includes step-by-step instructions. If you are both non-religious and easily distracted, you might try “Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics: A 10% Happier HowTo Book” by Dan Harris and Jeff Warren, which is an audio e-book that can be borrowed and loaded to your phone or tablet.

Audiobooks are a practical way to learn guided meditation without attending a group session. Mindfulness can be used in many areas of your life. The e-book “Mindful Eating: A Guide to Rediscovering a Healthy and Joyful Relationship with Food” by Jan Chozen Bays could help you focus on your body’s signals of hunger and satiety, experience increased satisfaction with what you eat, and examine your habits around food. This downloadable book includes a 75-minute audio program with guided exercises. You could also try working on your relationships with people you love by listening to the audio e-book “Real Love: The Art of Mindful Connection” by Sharon Salzberg. Lastly, you can improve your interaction with your teenager by reading the book “Helping Your Angry Teen: How to Reduce Anger and Build Connection Using Mindfulness and Positive Psychology” by See LA MESA READS page 17


While in college creating illustrations for a small newspaper, Gary Harden, who had no formal training in art, began to teach himself. At that time, newspapers and magazines relied upon hand-drawn illustrations of consumer products for their publications and advertisements. Computer graphics were yet to be born, so his art training was fairly simple; if it’s a tractor it should look like a tractor. Understanding the use of light, chroma, saturation, hue, cool vs warm, etc. was never needed, as most all illustrations were drawn and printed in black and white where shading values were the only considerations beyond likeness. In his current artwork, Harden attempts to create “representations” of many random subjects and settings. His pleasure from art comes from being able to create subjects and see them take form, emerging from a blank canvas or paper. He wants to create art that allows the viewer to identify and enjoy the subject without question. Harden follows the words in the poem “The Task” where author William Cowpens writes, “Variety is the spice of life.” And so he works with oil, pastels, acrylics, colored pencil, airbrush, watercolor, pen and ink on canvas, panel, paper and mat board, each of which provide individual and distinct challenges. These challenges have created successes and failures. He has found that both the successes and failures have added to his learning experiences and kept

Gary Harden (Photos courtesy Foothills Art Association)

An illustration of a truck by Gary Harden

him engaged in the creation of art. Harden’s journey continues down his path to finding an artistic passion and establishing a style or niche. Personally, for him, art is a means of self-expression which, as he overcomes its challenges, provides a simple enjoyment regardless of the outcome. Meet Gary Harden and enjoy his artwork at an Artist’s Reception on Saturday, March 10, from 3–5 p.m. at the Foothills Gallery, 4910 Memorial Drive, La Mesa. For more information, visit —Linda Michaels is editor of the Foothills Art Association newsletter Footnotes.■

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NEWS uuTown Halls, from page 2 A Yorkshire Avenue resident named Dave took issue with the traffic lights in his neighborhood. “I work in La Mesa and 1.6 miles is my furthest commute,” he said. “Sometimes that takes me 14 minutes because of traffic lights.” Resident Lee Sandvick offered an idea to ease parking and traffic in and around the Village by proposing electronic trams, like the kind that are found in Downtown San Diego, which would cart residents and visitors to and from the Village from homes and parking lots. “It’s a win-win for visitors and residents alike,” she said. Mayor Arapostathis said that cost would be a concern in starting such a program. Another woman commented that there would be more parking in neighborhoods if residents used their garages and driveways for parking cars, rather than storage. A resident named Kevin complained about parking tickets he received because of street sweeping along Nancy Drive, where he lives. “If you don’t move your vehicle on the third Tuesday of the month, you will get a nice $42 ticket. I have four,” he said, adding that the tickets themselves are less of an issue than the city’s uneven rules on street-sweeping tickets. Janfred Way, Poppy Street, Water Street and Wolf Court have streets swept, but because there are no signs put up, there are no tickets given and the street sweeper drives around the cars, he said. “If you’re going to give $42 tickets to people who don’t get up at 9 o’clock in the morning after getting home at 3 in the morning to move their car, can you please have the same rule for everybody in the city?” “You’re absolutely right, it needs to be consistent,” replied Arapostathis. Angela, a resident on Sisson Street, complained about the city’s lack of enforcement on trailers and motorhomes parked on streets. “You guys need to decide; you need to make the ordinances for this community and get rid of them,” she said. “We are not El Cajon. You drive down Horton at any given time, there’s boats, there’s trailers. On Sisson Street, there’s two motorhomes. You need to change the ordinance.”


Culbertson Avenue resident Donna Marie Tol said she has noticed an increase in the area’s homeless population. “We know the cost of housing is out of control and services are inadequate across the county,” she said. “I’m not looking for an end-all answer to homeless, but what is the city doing to get homeless services?” Councilmember Colin Parent acknowledged homelessness as a “real and growing issue” in the city. He said La Mesa recently joined the Regional Continuum of Care, Regional Task Force for Homeless after a county grand jury faulted the city for not being part of it.

Parent said the city is also taking steps to address housing affordability and pointed to a recently-adopted affordable homes bonus program, which gives incentives to developers that build subsidized affordable units. The city also formed a subcommittee to look at other affordable housing options in La Mesa, including easing restrictions on homeowners building “granny-flat” rentals on their properties. Councilmember McWhirter added that regional programs, like East County Transitional Living in El Cajon, will be where most of the help comes from. “I know the county, that has the money for a lot of this, needs to step up,” he said. Resident Carol Biederman suggested offering more public toilets to combat potential health risks caused by homelessness, such as the recent outbreak of hepatitis A. She also suggested that the city build a homeless shelter. “I think it would be suitable for us to think about having some kind of place where people can get in out of the rain and off the streets,” she said.

Transitional housing

A group of residents raised concerns about a recent transitional home for drug rehabilitation patients that recently opened on Joel Lane. “We have had this facility operating for about a month and it is causing a considerable amount of stress to a lot of the residents,” said a woman named Ellen, who added that parking, traffic, smoking, noise, lack of privacy, change to the overall feel of neighborhood, property values and worries about potential criminal activity are the biggest concerns of the neighborhood. She wondered how a drug rehabilitation home could open on a cul de sac. “The manager told us these people cannot interact with us. They don’t look up at us; they don’t wave to us; they don’t smile. We were asked to not interact with them, so why do they need to be on a residential street?” City Attorney Glen Sabine said that if the facility has six or fewer residents, then there is nothing the city could do under current law. “Some of the unlicensed homes, or if there are more than six [occupants], then we have some use-permit controls that would apply, but then we’d have to find out if that is in fact the case,” he said. Councilmember Kristine Alessio said this is an issue that she has been working on with state representatives to change or amend laws, to give cities more flexibility in the

locations these businesses can operate. Alessio also offered to help mediate with the owner and neighborhood to address problems stemming from the rehabilitation home.

Air traffic noise

Marie, who lives near Helix High School, said that noise from airplanes has suddenly become an issue in her neighborhood. “They fly nonstop from about 6:30 in the morning to about 11:30 at night,” she said. “They fly very low. I’m thinking we get about 60 to 100 of them a day.” Arapostathis said that three years ago, the city was notified by the FAA of a change to flight paths around San Diego. “They now use GPS so instead of the planes flying south over [state Route] 94, they are flying in a more tight pattern. They notified us after the decision was made,” he said. The city of La Mesa doesn’t lobby the federal government, but was one of 18 cities who went to the county’s Airport Authority and lodged complaints and started contacting senators and members of Congress. “I send a monthly letter and I make the phone calls to the Airport Authority,” Arapostathis said, adding that he learned the Airport Authority doesn’t like the decision either. Marie mentioned that some cities are suing FAA and asked if La Mesa had plans to do the same. City Manager Garrett said the city could consider that, but in the meantime, he said there is a local FAA advisory council with local representatives, which meets regularly, and that would be a good place to start advocating.

La Mesa Courier  |  Feb. 23 – March 22, 2018


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A woman who lives on Texas Street said a neighbor in a rental is growing pot in his yard. “It stinks to high heaven,” she said. “My neighbors walk by and they’re reasonably naïve and say, ‘Kathy, you have a skunk in your front yard, this is terrible!’” City Attorney Sabine said the city cannot prohibit cultivating six indoor plants, but her neighbor is probably violating city ordinances. “This city has taken action to prohibit the outdoor cultivation of marijuana,” he said. Other issues raised by residents included problems with coyotes, the Climate Action Plan, requests for reports on progress made by the city’s various subcommittees and the air quality in the city. —Reach Jeff Clemetson at■

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EDUCATION 16 La Mesa Courier | Feb. 23 – March 22, 2018 International programs foster friendships Together, Talk Together, O Ye People of the Earth. Then and only then shall ye have Peace.” Each spring semester, GHS students sold AFS bond for 25 cents to be able to invite three AFS students “to live with us at Grossmont next year.” In 1969, the fundraising goal was $2,550. In the museum collection, we have large paintings of many of the AFS students Connie and Lynn Baer who visited Grossmont as members of the senior classes from Welcoming international 1962-1974. students to Grossmont High In 2013, Lily Aw from School (GHS) has been a traMalaysia and Michel Osinski dition at Grossmont, creating from Belgium visited the mulife-altering experiences and seum during a 40th reunion lifelong friendships. of 1973 AFS San Diego stuOne prominent program dents. They were excited to see for decades at GHS was the the AFS bronze plaque and American Field Service (AFS). Friendship Tree planted in According to their 1969-1974 November 1963 to honor the newsletters, AFS “began with a AFS Club. group of WWI ambulance driv“That year in my life when I ers who wanted to help bring was an AFS exchange student peace and understanding to the has remained among my most young people of the world.” The cherished memories,” shared AFS motto proclaims, “Walk Aw, who is now a doctor in Singapore. While at GHS, international students stayed with a Foothiller family. Many of them formed a lifelong bond with their host families. Jody Baumgaertel Catlin, Class of 1964, remembers what life was like living with another family. “Since my dad's (l to r) Nathalie Mock and Meghan Ellis at tennis military orders banquet sent him to the

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Pentagon, the rest of my family moved to Virginia, and as ASB President, I remained in San Diego. I lived with Ruth and Mel Anderson and their son Skip, along with Ramesh Sawheny, our Grossmont exchange student from India,” she said. “It was a delightful adventure, sharing many Grossmont activities with my new ‘brothers,’ savoring Ramesh's cooking of yummy lentil soups, and creating for me an enduring love of Indian food. After decades, Ramesh and I reconnected and I got to meet his lovely wife.” Also, as an important part of the AFS program, GHS students participated in the Americans Abroad program. Jim Zumwalt, Class of 1974, spent a year in Yokahama, Japan. “My AFS experience was life-changing for me,” he said. “Living with a Japanese family for a year and attending a Japanese school exposed me to a new culture and forced me to rethink my life goals. One result was that I vowed to continue learning more about Japan and Asia. I majored in Japanese Language at UC Berkeley and later joined the Foreign Service of the U.S. State Department where I served for 36 years as an American diplomat. Retired now, I work for a nonprofit foundation in Washington, D.C. dedicated to promoting strong U.S.-Japan relations.” This school year, German exchange student Nathalie

Mock is attending Grossmont. She is 16 and from Berlin and sponsored by the Forte International Exchange Association. “I decided Lily Aw and Michel Osinski visit the Grossmont High to come to the School History Museum. (Photos courtesy GHS Museum) U.S. mainly to improve my language skills and to learn about I have met and the awesome the culture,” Mock said. “My im- school spirit everyone has,” she age of America was drawn from added. “The never-ending motimovies and TV series. I wanted vation of teachers and students to experience how my life in makes daily class delightful.” Germany was different and how For decades, exposure to init was similar. I realized that ternational cultures has had a it is way different from what I positive impact on Foothillers. expected. I thought there would Once we know a person, the be more fast food and unhealthy differences of culture vanish snacks, but rather there is the as we connect through our delicious Mexican food I have humanity. learned to love. Visit the museum March 7, “On the other hand, one noon–3:30 p.m. to learn more thing that turned out to be as about the second-oldest high fascinating as it seems on TV school in East County. For is the large number of school more information, visit foothillsports like football, water polo,; call 619-668or tennis, which we don’t have 6140; or email ghsmuseum@ in Germany,” she continued. Mock played on the GHS girl’s tennis team this year. —Connie and Lynn “Grossmont High School is Baer write on behalf of the extremely special to me beGrossmont High School cause of the many great people Museum.■

Police Corvette drives Grossmont Career Tech program into high gear

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Automotive students in teacher Jordie Lehr’s classes at Grossmont High School were treated to a fun experience as part of Career Technical Education (CTE) Month. On Wednesday, Feb. 21, La Mesa Police Chief Walt Vasquez, Captain Matt Nicholass, and Officer Dan Paugh brought the La Mesa Police Department’s 2016 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray C7 onto campus for the day. Police officials shared their mutual interest in vehicles with the automotive students who reviewed the specs of the La Mesa PD Corvette that is equipped with a LT1 6.2 liter V8, 376 cubic inch, 455 horsepower engine. The La Mesa PD corvette is a partnership between Bob Stall Chevrolet and La Mesa PD. Bob Stall loaned La Mesa PD the vehicle and permitted them to outfit it as a promotional police vehicle that could be used at special

events in the community. Not used for enforcement purposes, the corvette was outfitted entirely by donations from within the region, and no tax dollars were spent on the project. “We thank Chief Vasquez and our friends at the La Mesa Police Department for taking the time to talk with our students who are developing the technical skills and expertise to work on vehicles in preparation for entering the industry of vehicle maintenance and repair,” said Superintendent Tim Glover. The Grossmont High School Automotive Pathway offers a high tech, industry current facility for students to learn skills in the Automotive Industry. The pathway is a sequenced pathway where students learn Automotive Technology, Auto Suspension, Steering, and Brakes, as well as Auto Engine performance and Emission Control.■


La Mesa Courier

News from Helix Charter High School than Wednesday, Feb. 28, at 3 p.m.

Judges needed for Senior Boards

Community members are invited to participate as judges for upcoming Senior Defenses and Senior Boards. All Helix seniors must complete the Jennifer Osborn Senior Project, which entails creating a product, coordiFinal chance for 2018-19 nating an event, planning a enrollment performance, or providing an Tuesday, Feb. 27 is the last actual service that has been day to attend an Information designed by them. The final Night, which is required for phase of the Senior Project is all new students wishing to Senior Defenses and Senior enroll for 2018-19. The meetBoards, which provide an oping will be held in the Helix portunity for our students to Performing Arts Center at 6 shine and to feel a sense of acp.m. At the meeting, families complishment as they demonwill receive an access code strate their knowledge and that will allow them to comskills to their community. plete the online enrollment Senior Defenses will take application for the lottery, place on April 11, 12, and which is required for all in13 from noon-3:30 p.m., and terested students. Enrollment Senior Boards will take place applications are due no later on Tuesday, May 29, and Wednesday, May 30, from noon-4 p.m. Community members are welcome to participate in any or all dates. Please contact me at josborn@ to confirm your participation. The Senior Project is just Destiny Lyng (left) has repeated her title of San Diego one example of Section champion for girls wrestling. (YouTube) Helix's ongoing

Winter sports successes

Winter sports teams are heading into the CIF playoffs! Highlights for Helix include the girls water polo team making it to the Division I quarterfinal game, while the boys and girls basketball teams, the boys tennis team, and the boys and girls soccer teams, are all competing in the CIF playoffs as of this writing. Girls wrestling team member Destiny Lyng repeated as San Diego Section champion. The wrestling team will compete for a bid to the state championships in the CIF Masters Tournament. Good luck to all of our student-athletes and their coaches.

Rotary speech contest features Helix students

Helix juniors Ivan Jimenez, Jonah Leota, and Chase Osborn competed in the La Mesa Sunrise Rotary 4-way Test Speech Contest on Feb. 16. Jimenez took first place and will move on to the next level of competition coming up in March.

Helix choir success

The Helix show choirs competed in the San Diego Sings! Choir festival. HD, the all-girls

Ivan Jimenez was the winner of the La Mesa Sunrise Rotary Speech Contest. (Courtesy Sunrise rotary)

show choir, finished second in their division, and HLX, the boys and girls advanced show choir, finished first in their division. The Mixed Voices concert choir earned a rating of “Excellent,” and the Highland Singers Advanced Chamber Choir earned a “Superior” rating in the festival.

Excellence in Education

If you are interested in finding out more about Helix Charter High School, please attend one of our Excellence in Education tours. The next tour is March 7 at 8:10 a.m. Reserve your spot using our website, As always, we welcome your input. Please don’t hesitate to contact me at —Jennifer Osborn writes on behalf of Helix Charter High School.■

Feb. 23 – March 22, 2018


u La Mesa Reads, from page 13 Mitch R. Abblett, Ph.D. The tips inside give parents methods for getting through tense conversations with teens who are angry, withdrawn, or acting inappropriately. Even if you’re not a novice to mindfulness meditation, you still might enjoy learning more about the man who brought it to the West. “Walk With Me” (DVD and Blu-Ray) was filmed at Thich Nhat Hanh’s monastery in France, and follows a community that has eschewed possessions in favor of meditation. The monks and nuns (and, interestingly, their children) practice mindfulness in every part of their lives. Passages from Thich Nhat Hanh’s writings, narrated by Benedict Cumberbatch, form the audio background of this documentary.

Second Saturdays

The Second Saturday performance series continues at La Mesa Library with the Rhinestone Grannies on Saturday, March 10 at 1 p.m. These dancing seniors will entertain with a combination of songs and costumes for St. Patrick’s Day. La Mesa Friends of the Library are the generous supporters of the Second Saturdays series. —Heather Pisani-Kristl is managing librarian of the La Mesa branch of the San Diego County Library. Call the library at 619-469-2151, visit in person at 8074 Allison Ave., or get information online at■

Five Star Care at ALVARADO HOSPITAL Alvarado Hospital is one of only four hospitals in San Diego County to be given a five-star rating by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on its Hospital Compare website. This means that in comparison with 4,000 hospitals across the nation, Alvarado stands with the best in terms of quality of care and patient outcomes.


Helix Highlights

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18 La Mesa Courier | Feb. 23 – March 22, 2018 u Analysis, from page 1 community, the first thing we think of when we hear police is nervousness and anxiety,” she said. “We get scared and we shouldn’t have to feel that way anymore. We’ve felt that way for many years.” Highlighting how unprepared the city was in dealing with an incident like this, on the Monday following the incident, a few dozen students walked out of classes and peacefully marched to the police station to demand answers on what would be done to make sure police deal with students without violence, only to find the doors locked to keep them from entering the police station when they arrived.

“La Mesa is now reminiscent of Birmingham or Mississippi in the 1960s. I am horrified, I am disgusted, I am distrustful, and have lost all faith in LMPD,” said resident and Helix graduate Sherry Hooper at the student town hall. “You should have greeted these kids, welcomed them and praised them for their peaceful protest; accepted their comments or complaints and addressed them.” While Police Chief Walt Vasquez did meet with the students the following day and had a discussion about police procedure and safety protocols, he admitted that not meeting with them during their protest march was a mistake. “I told them it was a decision I made, but I also told them that hindsight being 20/20 that I

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NEWS should not have locked the doors and I should have talked with them and I apologized to those students,” he said at the student town hall. “If I said anything more, it could be seen as rationalizing and making excuses and I don’t want to do that.” Chief Vasquez’s meeting with students was, as he described it, an “important first step” in regaining some trust with the community and through all three town hall meetings, students recognized his efforts. If the city wishes to continue that effort, there are several actions it could take to proactively create policy that deals with police oversight that were suggested by community members. First would be to create a set procedure that lays out how investigations into allegations of misconduct will be handled. The Police Department already has its own internal review process, but the Helix incident showed just how subjective it can be. For instance, the officer involved was suspended from working at schools while the investigations were conducted, but it was unclear as to what level of misconduct would trigger a total suspension, which was a major point of contention for both the students and concerned community members. If there was a set policy in place that clearly stated, for example, that officers are not put on suspension from duties unless there is severe bodily harm to the suspect, then that question could have been answered at the town halls instead of being dismissed. Many community members were concerned about the transparency of the third-party investigation the city decided it would pursue regarding the Jan. 19

u Depot Springs, from page 1 and crafts store) and its sprawling lot, initially got underway in 2015 and was projected to open at several different times over the last three years but ultimately never materialized. On Tuesday, Feb. 13, the site's owner/CEO Aaron Dean announced on the Depot Springs Facebook page that he'd placed the property, which his family has owned since 1959, up for sale via the commercial real estate brokerage Cushman & Wakefield. It has the Fletcher Parkway address listed for $2.4 million as a “permitted brewery opportunity,” along with $700,000 worth of brewery equipment (available for sale separately). As reported in the La Mesa Courier in March of 2016, Dean hosted a community forum to address growing neighborhood discontent about his expansive project — namely overflow parking and noise concerns stemming from plans to operate a live-music venue on the brewery’s grounds. However, he contests those issues weren’t the cause of the Depot Springs’ demise. “Actually, most of the community provided overwhelming support for the project,” Dean told the Courier recently. “We had a few folks who misunderstood the actual idea of the project … We spent a great deal

La Mesa Police Chief Walt Vasquez talks with a resident at a city town hall meeting on Feb. 6. (Photo by Jeff Clemetson)

matter. There was also a quesalready taken a step in that tion as to whether the person direction with its “Coffee with eventually hired to conduct the a Cop” and “Citizen’s Police investigation would be impartial. Academy” programs that give A policy in place that incommunity members a chance cluded guidelines for releasing to get to know their local law information to the public would enforcement. have also quelled some of those But as a man named Carlos fears and also provided the City said at the second City CouncilCouncil answers to give, beorganized town hall on Feb. 6, yond “We don’t know yet.” “We might have to be a little Making sure that our police more creative than just meetofficers have adequate training ing in a coffee shop.” in how to de-escalate situations With a few set rules and and alternatives to the use of fair programs in place that force is imperative. Information address the concerns brought about which officers have had up by the community, then what training should also be — as Helix math teacher Jeff made public. Babbitt said at the town hall Finally, a community re— the investigations into the lations or citizen review comincident might produce some mittee should be formed, to positive changes. establish a better dialogue “I know full well that some between police and the people good is going to come out of they serve. Having a reguwhat was a tragic thing, and I lar avenue for residents to look forward to [La Mesa] being bring up issues and receive an even better place in the fusolutions would give police ture than it was prior,” he said. an opportunity to hear what is working and what is not in —Reach Jeff Clemetson at our communities. La Mesa has■ of money doing sound studies and working with the city and our architect to make sure the project would be in compliance with our approved conditional use permit.” According to Dean, the facility had reached “about 70 percent complete” but ran into an insurmountable slew of problems recently. “It really was a perfect storm,” Dean said. “I can’t blame one thing that caused the project to stop … The bank had some issues with the cost overruns and a neighbor, who I will leave nameless for now, created a huge issue over parking that eventually got dismissed but was a six-month [work] stoppage alone. I think whenever you try to do something new, you always run a risk.” Depot Springs Brewing Co. would have certainly been a breath of fresh air to an otherwise sleepy part of town. Upon its opening, the project would’ve hosted a full-service, family-friendly restaurant/ brewery concept (including a 3,000-square-foot enclosed, alcohol-free “kid’s camp”) along with a 600- to 900-person (depending on type of seating) outdoor courtyard for live music and other events. While news of the site’s sale is a disappointing end to the long-awaited project, there could be a silver lining. Dean is currently talking with several different potential buyers, presumably breweries,

to purchase the property and, hopefully, bring his vision (or some semblance of it) to life at long last. “The good news for anyone else is that the path has been built,” Dean said. “All the issues I had are dealt with … So long as the [potential buyers] I am working with don’t try to increase the footprint, it will work great. I do think it’s 50/50 as to whether one of the other breweries we are working with would keep the entertainment to the extent that we had planned. Success, for now, is about having the capital to finish. I believe all the groups we are speaking with can make it happen.” As for Dean, the La Mesan is focusing on his other neighborhood venture: Sheldon’s Service Station. Along with slinging coffee, breakfast, lunch, and a few craft-beer/wine selections, the La Mesa Village hotspot also hosts live music every weekend. Dean said that starting in April, they’ll be extending hours with music going later into weekend evenings. And if he has other projects up his sleeve, he’s not telling — just yet. “As for something totally new? We will see … it’s in my blood to keep trying new things.” —Dustin Lothspeich is a La Mesa resident/musician who largely spends his time writing about the San Diego music scene for area publications.■

La Mesa Courier


Feb. 23 – March 22, 2018









Live music: Warrant and Quiet Riot 1980s groups Warrant and Quiet Riot team up for a night of metal. 8 p.m. at Sycuan Casino, 5469 Casino Way, El Cajon 92019. Tickets: $59–69, available at

Sundays at 2 p.m. at Lamplighters Theatre, 5915 Severin Drive. Tickets: adults $20; students, seniors, active military $17; groups of 10 or more $15; available at





Dinner with Obi Kaufman The Anza-Borrego Foundation is hosting an evening with Obi Kaufman, a poet, artist and advocate for wilderness defense and conservation. Attendees receive a poster for the park and a copy of Kaufman’s book “The California Field Atlas.” 6:30-9 p.m. at Borrego Art Institute, 665 Palm Canyon Drive, Borrego Springs 92004. Tickets: $150. Register online at or contact Lauren Poole at 760767-0446 ext. 1002 or email




Richard Thompson’s ‘Freedom’ The SDSU School of Music and Dance presents the world premiere of Richard Thompson’s composition “Freedom,” for choirs and orchestra, which is inspired by contrasting the prose in Langston Hughes’ 1951 poem, “Harlem, a Dream Deferred,” with the optimism of the “I Have a Dream” speech by Martin Luther King Jr. 7:30 p.m. at the College Avenue Baptist Church, 4747 College Ave., 92115. Tickets are $20 for general admission, $15 for military/seniors, and $10 for students; available at Live music: The Waits Acoustic duo plays blend of folk, bluegrass, country, classic rock and more. 7 p.m. at San Pasqual Winery, 8364 La Mesa Blvd. 21 and over. No cover.

March. Film discussion: ‘Rebel in the Rye’ San Diego Oasis’ “Film on the Fringe” series will view and discuss director Danny Strong’s movie about the life of author J.D. Salinger. 1 p.m. at San Diego Oasis Lifelong Learning Center, 5500 Grossmont Center Drive, Suite 325, La Mesa. For ages 50 and up. Cost is $12.




Fitness and fun for life This free meeting on fitness includes a presentation by Daphne Miller, instructor of Feeling Fit Club classes and leader of the Sharp Grossmont Mall Walker. Light refreshments will be served and handouts will be available. 10-11 a.m. at Herrick Community Health Care Library, 9001 Wakarusa St., La Mesa. No reservation necessary. Call 619-825-5010 for more information.

The Amazing Acro-cats The Amazing Acro-cats featuring Tuna and the Rock Cats are a troupe of real performing house cats. They have cats riding skateboards, jumping through hoops, and Alley, our rising star, has even leapt into the Guinness Book of World Records, holding the record for the longest cat jump! Show runs through March 11 at Moxie Theatre, 6663 El Cajon Blvd., San Diego. All shows start at 7 p.m. Tickets are $25, $30 and $40, available at Artists’ reception Featured artists Beverly Berwick, Mary Sue Compton, Gary Dyak, Tina Fries-Miller, Sue Z. Gold, Susan Hewitt, Roberta Labastida, Harriet Lisak, Carol Mansfield, Ann Slater, Paul White and Jami Wright will be hosting an artists’ reception for a display titled “Glow.” 6–8 p.m. at Nainsook Framing + Art, 8130 La Mesa Blvd. This event is free and open to the public.





Historically Black Colleges and Universities workshop Part of Grossmont College’s Black History Month events. The workshop will be held by Helen Young, project director for the California Community Colleges Transfer Guarantee Agreement to Historically Black Colleges and Universities. 11 a.m.-noon at Griffin Gate in Bldg. 60 at Grossmont College, 8800 Grossmont College Drive, El Cajon 92020. Free.



Opening: ‘Night, Mother’ Lamplighter Community Theatre presents a dramatic play by Marsha Norman and directed by James P. Darvas. This multi-award-winning play centers around Jessie, a middle-aged, down-on-herluck woman who moves back in with her mom. As mother and daughter spend a highstakes evening together, the Black history panel ensuing debate — sometimes Part of Cuyamaca College’s quiet, sometimes tempestuous Black History Month events. — ultimately gives rise to deep, 3:30-4:30 p.m. in Room I-107 personal questions about how in the Student Center, 900 and why we value life. Rancho San Diego Parkway, Runs March 2–25; Fridays El Cajon 92019. Free. and Saturdays at 8 p.m.,

Artist workshop Foothills Art Association presents a workshop with Mandy Toliver, who will help participants create a custom waterscape with acrylic, using techniques to simplify movement, reflection and light. All supplies provided. 9–11 a.m. at the Porter Hall Gallery, 4910 Memorial Drive, La Mesa. $25 members; $35 non-members. RSVP: Mandy Toliver at 352-672-2539 or Anza-Borrego Foundation Boots Ball The Anza-Borrego Foundation is hosting their fi rst fundraiser to celebrate the foundation’s next 50 years. The event includes live music, food and a silent and live auction. Guests are invited wear their finest hiking boot fashion. 2-5 p.m. at Steele/ Burnand Anza-Borrego Desert Research Center, 401 Tilting T Drive, Borrego Springs 92004. Tickets: $51. Register online at or contact Lauren Poole at 760767-0446 ext 1002 or email


and retired senior volunteer patrol. The board of directors will also be installed at this event. 5-8:30 p.m. at the Town & Country Ballroom, Town & Country Resort Hotel, 500 Hotel Circle, Mission Valley. Cost is $85 for single person, $150 for two people and $600 for eight people. To get tickets, email rsvp@lamesachamber. com, call 619-465-7700 ext. 2, online at or purchase tickets with PayPal at Reservations will not be held until payment is received.


Resources and tools for family caregivers Family caregivers can fi nd out about health and community resources, placement options, support groups and more from Andrea Holmberg, program coordinator for the Sharp Senior Resource Center. This free class also covers emotional issues about caring for a loved one. 10-11:30 a.m. at the Sharp Health Plan, 8520 Tech Way, San Diego. Registration required. Call 1-800-827-4277 or go to sharp. com/classes to register.



Creative YOU! Wine + Paint Van Gogh's ‘Sunflowers’ Learn to paint a Van Gogh. No experience necessary. You will be guided by an instructor to create this beautiful painting on an 11-by-14-inch canvas. All materials and snacks included. Bring your own wine if you like. 6 p.m. at Nainsook Framing + Art, 8130 La Mesa Blvd. $35 per person, visit




‘Nevertheless, We Persist’ Three of San Diego's celebrated female vocalists unite to perform songs of love, defiance, faith, persistence and humanity. The repertoire will draw from the Latin American, African-American and Jewish-American experiences from the point of view of women. Featuring Elizabeth Schwartz, Coral MacFarland Thuet and Lisa Payton perform as The PerSisters, backed by musicians Gunnar Biggs on contrabass and Fred Benedetti on guitar. 7 p.m. in Smith Recital Hall at SDSU’s Performing Arts Plaza. Free and open to the public. For more Information, contact




‘Salute to Local Heroes’ Join the La Mesa Chamber for the 10th annual celebration that honors and recognizes first responders from the La Mesa police, fire, paramedics

6 p.m. at Nainsook Framing + Art, 8130 La Mesa Blvd. $35 per person, visit



Clean Comedy Night Family-friendly comedy with nationally acclaimed comedians Dustin Nickerson, Don Friesen, and Patrick Deguire. 6:30 p.m. at the Salvation Army Kroc Center Joan B. Kroc Theatre, 6611 University Ave., 92115. This event is free.

that is fun to use and versatile enough to create anything from an abstract landscape to a detailed flower arrangement. No experience necessary. Roz Oserin will be teaching several techniques for using this special ink. Each student will receive two 4-inch tiles to paint and one frame and leave with a finished piece of art ready to hang. This class includes all materials and snacks. Bring your own wine if you like!



Creative YOU! Alcohol Ink on Tile Learn how to use alcohol ink, a brightly-colored medium



Caregiving at home Family caregivers can learn the basics of caring for a loved one at home including transfers, personal care, proper body mechanics and more. Learn from a registered nurse how to physically care for your loved one and how to protect yourself from injury. 9 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Sharp Grossmont Hospital’s Brier Patch Campus, 9000 Wakarusa St., Rooms 13/14, La Mesa. Registration required. Call 1-800-827-4277 or register online at




‘Aging process: What is normal and what is not’ Understand the physical, social and emotional changes in aging adults. Explore signs of normal vs. abnormal aging. Discuss ways of staying physically, emotionally and socially active. 10-11 a.m. at Clairemont Lutheran Church, 4271 Clairemont Mesa Blvd., San Diego. Registration required. Call 1-800-827-4277 or visit to register.■

20 La Mesa Courier | Feb. 23 – March 22, 2018

La Mesa Courier 02-23-18  
La Mesa Courier 02-23-18